Software Starter Kit: Windows Security

Antivirus and Preventative Protection

Do not have more than one antivirus application installed at a time on your PC.  If you decide to switch from one to another, you must uninstall the one you have before you install the other one.

Avast! Antivirus

Very effective but tends to be noisy (literally) with maintenance. Don't be surprised to hear your PC say, "Virus database has been updated." (Or, if you choose Pirate Talk as its default language, "Avast, me hearties! Your blacklist of dangerous sea dogs be safely aboard.")

Annual registration is required for the free edition.

Hitchhikers and unwanted features: The Google Chrome browser is bundled, the Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer is bundled, and the Grime Fighter feature refuses to act or show alleged "grime" without an extra purchase. Uncheck their checkboxes and choose custom installation to opt out of them.

Malicious Software Clean-Up

These are tools you should run if you have malicious software installed and trying to use the Control Panel fails to remove them all.

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (MBAM)

Use caution with the installer.  If you want the free edition, then you must opt out of the free trial of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium on the installer's final page.


A simple run-once tool that cleans up malicious files, folders, toolbars, and browser extensions.

Web Browser Extensions


NoScript is an extension for Firefox which disables JavaScript and plug-ins on every site, except for those which you explicitly permit. JavaScript and plug-ins allow any and every site you visit to run programs on your computer by default, and malicious scripts abuse this fact to force your browser to download malicious applications to your computer. Disabling these features prevents that possibility, but a large number of Web sites use JavaScript and plug-ins for basic functionality.

NoScript lets you disable JavaScript and plug-ins and then re-enable them only for the sites that you choose to trust, on a domain by domain basis. Many sites that depend on JavaScript call on more than one domain, so you may have to allow two or three domains per site. NoScript remembers your choices, so you only have to do it once per site.

As a side effect, all intrusive and annoying advertisements that use JavaScript to show, pop up, and dance onto the screen (which constitute most ads on the Web today) are blocked by default as well, and domains related to ad networks are usually plainly named so you know which domains not to allow.

Temporarily allow a domain to allow JavaScript only until Firefox is closed.

Allow a domain to allow JavaScript from that domain forever.

Forbid a domain to stop allowing JavaScript from that domain.

Revoke temporary permissions to undo every temporary choice since Firefox was opened.

If you temporarily allow a domain and want to permanently allow it, forbid it first, then allow it.

Wanted for this list

PGP and GnuPG software and especially introductory how-tos that establish good security practices. Enigmail for Thunderbird?


Disk encryption software for Windows, now that TrueCrypt has been compromised?

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